GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brent Morel isn't worried about the 2013 White Sox roster permutations, which seem to leave him as a long shot to break camp with the team. After losing all but 35 games last season because of a back problem, the 25-year-old is simply happy to be healthy.
"It has been really encouraging to come here, doing what I did in the offseason, kind of my own pace, my own schedule, feeling as good as it did," said Morel, who was allowed to report with pitchers and catchers because of his back injury. "Just to come here and practice three days in a row, to feel as good as it does, I'm really encouraged to go out there and keep playing with no problems."
"A slight injury, it just makes guys look different the way they move around, and for him, he's swinging the bat free and easy," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "It's different when you get some spikes on and when you're running around and doing stuff. His [issue] is more kind of longevity of being able to stay and play nice and loose like that."
Free-agent acquisition Jeff Keppinger is penciled in at third base, leaving the only open roster battle between Jordan Danks, Lars Anderson and Morel to fill out the bench. Angel Sanchez has the edge as the utility infielder, beyond his status as a Rule 5 pick from the Angels, because of his ability to play shortstop. Morel has played across the infield throughout his baseball career, but has just 17 Minor League games at shortstop to his credit outside of third base.
Even with that lack of prior professional experience, Ventura acknowledged Thursday that Morel will get some innings at a defensive spot other than third during Spring Training.
"I know he can play third base. That's not the issue," Ventura said. "It's giving him a little more versatility, maybe stick him at second base. It's always good to have."
"I'm always open," Morel said. "I want to be the third baseman, but if that doesn't happen, I want to help anyway possible."
Morel admits to picking up a few bad habits with his swing in order to compensate for the back pain. But with the renewed strength comes a move back to a better hitting technique.
"As it progressed, I definitely created bad habits. But I think that's all in the past now," Morel said. "I'm able to do what I could do before and just swing properly."